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Closer competition for top spot in customer satisfaction among the Big Four banks

Sources: Roy Morgan Research Consumer Banking Satisfaction Report, July 2014; average 6-monthly sample for Big Four Banks (n= 18,290); Roy Morgan Research Consumer Single Source, 6 months to July 2014; n= 25,724 and 6 months to January 2014-July 2014; n= 7,254.
In July the satisfaction level of the personal customers of banks remained close to the record high of 82.2% set in June, falling only marginally to 82.1%. The competition among the big four banks for number one ranking became much closer in July, with the CBA holding only a 1.3% point lead over Westpac among total personal customers. The margin was even closer for Main Financial Institution (MFI) customers where the CBA leads Westpac by only 0.2% points. These are the latest findings from the Roy Morgan Research Consumer Single Source survey of over 50,000 people per annum.

Personal customer satisfaction among the big four banks

In the six months to July 2014, the CBA maintained its leading position among the big four with 81.5% satisfaction, followed by Westpac (80.2%), NAB (80%) and ANZ (79.2%). The biggest improver among the major banks over the last month was Westpac ( up 0.3% points), followed by the ANZ ( up 0.1% point), the NAB ( down 0.4 % points) and CBA ( down 0.6% points)

Over the last month the CBA’s lead over Westpac was reduced from 2.2% points to 1.3% points. In terms of MFI the gap to Westpac in June was 1.1% point and in July this has narrowed to only 0.2% points.

Consumer Banking Satisfaction: Big Four Banks


Source: Roy Morgan Research Consumer Banking Satisfaction Report, July 2014; average 6-monthly sample for Big Four Banks (n= 18,290)

Over the last 3 months Westpac showed the largest improvement in satisfaction (up 1.6% points), followed by the ANZ (up 1.0% points), the CBA (down 1.1% points) and NAB (down 1.2% points). Westpac’s improvement was a result of their non-home loan customers increasing their satisfaction (up 2.4% points), whereas their home loan customers showed a decline in satisfaction (down 1.0% points). The CBA lost ground among both home loan customers (down 1.3% points) and non-home loan customers (down 1.3% points. The ANZ made gains in both home loan and non-home loan segments and the NAB lost ground among both groups.

Satisfaction among all banks, building societies and credit unions

With so much publicity given to the satisfaction ranking among the big four banks it is worth considering their performance in the context of the overall market that they compete in. The following chart shows that the big four banks as a group don’t compete favourably with their smaller competitors. Around six million people are customers of institutions outside of the big four banks and as such are a very important group to consider in terms of relative satisfaction levels.

Consumer Satisfaction with Financial Institutions


Source: Roy Morgan Research Consumer Single Source, 6 months to July 2014; n= 25,724

The big four banks with a satisfaction rating of 80.5% are well below building societies (91.6 %), credit unions (90.8%), mutual banks (87.9%), foreign banks (85 .8%) and other banks (85.0%).

The “drivers” of the higher satisfaction levels outside of the Big Four banks

With such a big gap between the satisfaction levels among the big four banks and other financial institutions it is important to look at the reasons (or “drivers”) for this difference.

Roy Morgan Research has carried out extensive analysis over a period of time to establish what the main “drivers” of bank customer satisfaction are. A summary of some of the main “drivers” is shown in the following chart and compares the rating given for each among big four bank customers to that given by others outside of the big four.

Comparison of Big Four Banks with other Financial Institutions* on Key Satisfaction Drivers

Big4 compared

Source: Roy Morgan Research Consumer Single Source, 6 months to January 2014-July 2014; n= 7,254. *Others include other banks, building societies and credit unions.

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“While satisfaction with the big four banks has increased greatly over the last thirteen years, there is still room for improvement among the major banks as is evidenced by the performance of their much smaller competitors who are seen as outperforming them on a number of important dimensions, particularly in relation to fees and charges, interest rates and treatment of customers.

Competition among the big four banks has obviously succeeded in increasing satisfaction levels but has also resulted in bringing their satisfaction scores much closer together, resulting in less competitive advantage to the leader. Back in late 2005 the gap between the best and the worst of the big four in terms of satisfaction was 12.6% points, with the CBA on 62.5% and the ANZ on 75.1%. Now that the gap has closed to only 2.3% points overall and in the case of MFI ratings the gap is now only 1.2% points between lowest (ANZ with 81.6%) and the highest (CBA 82.8%), the challenge is now to sustain a clear advantage.

“While it still remains a priority among the major banks to lift consumer satisfaction overall, we have seen in recent analysis that two important groups are rating their banks below average. These groups are business customers and the top value quintile personal customers, both of which have big potential for business growth but are far less satisfied than the lower value customers and as such should increasingly become the focus of improving satisfaction levels.”

For comments or more information please contact:

Norman Morris,  Industry Communications Director
Office: +61 (3) 9224 5172
Mobile: 0402 014 474

Related research findings

View our Customer Satisfaction – Consumer Banking in Australia report

View our Business Satisfaction – Business Banking in Australia report

About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%